Prague’s famous landmark, the John Lennon Wall, was painted completely white this week by a group of art students who call themselves Prague Service. The blank white wall bore a single message: “WALL IS OVER!” The statement is an obvious play on John Lennon’s song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”, which a protest song against the Vietnam War.
Photo via Reuters
The graffiti-covered wall was a place for anti-communist statements, hippie and love messages, or whatever other message someone wanted to display. Since the 1980s, and possibly before, the wall was a symbol of freedom and opposition to communism. After the anti-communist Velvet Revolution in 1989, the wall became a tourist attraction and continues to be a place of freedom of expression via graffiti.
The art students, Prague Service, claimed responsibility for painting the wall white. Supposedly, it was an art project to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and leave room for new messages of the current generation. The owner of the wall, the Sovereign Order of Malta, plans to take legal action against the student group.
During communist rule, the wall was painted over several times to cover Western pop culture references and statements against communism. In 2000, another art group called Rafani painted the wall green.
Photo via Paetau
What is ironic about this whole situation is that a group of art students have taken on an art project on a wall, which represents freedom and allows graffiti, but they are now getting in trouble for it. Is there a line we can draw as to what is art and what isn’t? Can this be marked as an act of vandalism?
Shortly after being painted, new messages were already being painted over the wall once again. Check out incredible photographs of the John Lennon Wall from The Atlantic here.
What statement group do you think the students were making?